Lordy, Lordy

I’ve debated about whether or not to post this, because “real people” (such as my family and physical friends) read it as well as my Internet friends. But I think I’m going to put it out there, because I’ve learned that it’s okay to have feelings and, when you tell other people about your feelings, it brings you closer together. (Unless those feelings are hatred, and then it probably does the opposite.)

So my 40th birthday was Sunday (Dec 21, The Winter Solstice, in case you want to get me presents for next year. Although next year I’ll be 41. That’s how birthdays work.). What was I saying? Oh yeah… I had a birthday.

Throughout the 40 years of my life, I’ve never really liked celebrating my birthday. When I was little, it was too close to Christmas, so I’d have “combo-presents” that were supposed to count towards both, my birthday presents (when separate) would be wrapped in Christmas paper, and I had to wait an entire friggin’ year to get more loot. In my older life, as seasonal affective disorder kicked in, I started focusing on the darker aspects of the holiday, such as not having a wife, not having kids, not having anyone, really, to share the holiday with. Basically, being lonely on top of my chemically-caused depression.

Last year, a friend of mine suggested that he and a couple of other friends come up and spend the weekend for my 39th birthday. We would start the party with a night at a local Brazilian Steakhouse and spend the rest of the weekend playing board games and being nerds.

Aside: A Brazilian Steakhouse, for those who don’t know, is an all-you-can-eat meat steakhouse, where you sit at a table, grab a plate, and people just keep swarming around you with various meats and offering you slices. I imagine that something to such excess can ONLY be called an American Steakhouse, and that people in Brazil probably don’t do really do this.

Anyway… it was a lot of fun, and we decided to do it this year too, with even more people, and it was also amazingly fun. Right up until they all left to go home on Sunday night. And then, there I was again… alone with my cave.

I’m not saying it’s a terrible thing. I smile when I think about the fun we all had (even though I wish I had one extra visitor for the weekend) and I imagine we’ll do it again next year, which also makes me smile. But that’s how Depression works. You can distract yourself from it sometimes, but it’s always lingering back there, waiting to remind you how terrible your life is. And now for the darkest part of this post…

In my early 30s, I resolved that if, on my 40th birthday, I was not where I wanted to be in life, I would end it. Up until about six months ago, I was still on board with that plan. (I know… I’ve stated numerous times that I wasn’t suicidal and that I wasn’t going to kill myself, but if I’d said “Hey guys, I’m planning on ‘offing’ on my 40th” there would have been a major shitstorm and it would not have been a good thing for my mental health.) And one morning I woke up and decided it was a bad idea. At the time, I couldn’t explain why I suddenly changed my mind, but now I can, looking back on it.

When Mama Jill was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, it was a rough blow. Yeah, I’ve had cancer wreak havoc among my friends and family, and it has sort of desensitized me to it. But this was Mama Jill, and it was already beyond hope. She made the choice to die with dignity, and while it hurts so much that she’s gone, I can only respect her for her choice to spare us the agony of watching her wither away while she was in constant pain, being unable to do anything to help her.

Anyway… I’ve realized that life is already short enough. Hell, I’m already 40. I’ve hit the statistical half-way mark. I made it this far and, while it might not have been easy, I’m pretty sure the rest of the trip will be easier. After all, I don’t have to go through the awkward school years again and I won’t start shitting my pants again until I’m too old to give a fuck about it. (Or maybe too drunk to give a fuck about it.)

The bottom line is that you’re not getting rid of me that easily, World. I’m going to stick it out. (And I realize that if the world wants me gone, it could just as easily send a bus at me, or crush my house in a sinkhole, or eight million other things… so that statement of challenge was probably not the smartest thing to say) I will say this, though: If I’m ever at a point where cancer is eating away at me, and I have the choice to avoid making my family watch me die, all bets are off.

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